(Chrysalis / Rhino)


American music mogul Mo Ostin can take a bow for signing U.K. music icon Jethro Tull to Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records. After two great albums on Reprise, in 1970 Tull released Benefit—an album that some still claim was their best ever. Tull's Benefit album has a rich history, the essence of which is meticulously revisited and encapsulated on a three disc set on Chrysalis / Rhino. First, the entire original U.K. version of Benefit album and every related track from that period are superbly remixed for maximum audio perfection by Steven Wilson, who has rightfully received accolades for his remix / remaster reissue CDs for King Crimson, YES and most recently his 2013 remix of Tull’s Thick As A Brick. For this 2013 reissue, Benefit has returned to the Warner / Reprise stable, especially when reconsidering / comparing it to the Capitol Records CD reissue from 2001 which was missing important tracks. That CD remaster was very good but this new remix of Benefit is probably definitive. With the original ten track U.K. studio album featured on disc one—including five bonus tracks including “Teacher”, which wasn’t on the original UK Lp version but was (thankfully and in place of “Alive And Well And Living In”) on the first U.S. Lp. A second CD on this triple threat Benefit features more “associated recordings” from late ‘69 and ‘70 including various mono / stereo versions of U.S. and U.K. single releases. The DVD here features 58 tracks in 5.1 surround sound, including the new Steven Wilson remixes of the CD as well as “flat transfers” of the original versions of both the U.S. and U.K. Lp versions of the album. Of interest here are excellent liner notes and very easy to read interviews (with actual text you can see) conducted by Martin Webb with the original Tull Benefit lineup—Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, Clive Bunker and Glen Cornick. Reading these historic, track by track interviews with these master musicians discussing a sizable slice of music history is a humbling experience for original Tull fans. After all, this dissertation of Benefit is kind of like revisiting holy grounds. Actually, the only thing missing here (that you can probably find online) are the Benefit lyrics, which for the time were truly revolutionary and illuminating at the same time. Ian even puts himself through the critical wringer as he dissects all the various Benefit era tracks that some of which, looking back, he now feels weren’t worthy of his then burgeoning genius. Even so, Wilson’s new remixes alone on the two CD’s here make this 2013 triple disc Benefit a sonic marvel of 21st century technology. As if it’s necessary considering all the hell vinyl put music lovers through in the 1970’s, there’s also a U.K. vinyl version of Wilson’s remix with a U.S. vinyl version coming as well. It's really a testament to the long standing musical magic of Jethro Tull that Benefit truly benefits from this close up look at an album that clearly changed rock music history for the better.


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